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HOME improvement Top home decor trends for 2012

5 quick repairs before you sell

guide SPRING 2012

Upgrading your home with fabric




rom warm woods and creative colors to memorable murals and tailored textures, interior de-

signers and industry experts predict 2012 will offer a multitude of options for those interested in giving

2 Top home decor trends for 2012 4 Always be prepared: Hiring a contractor 5 Your credit score and buying a home 6 Selling your home fast 7 Fabric in the home 7 Buying and financing your first home

their homes a fresh look. Even better for today’s cost-conscious consumers is that many of the trends


are easy and inexpensive.

The 2012 Spring Home Improvement and New Homebuyer’s Guide is a special section published May 25, 2012 by the Kent Reporter and Auburn Reporter.

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According to Emmy Award-winning home design expert, author and TV/radio personality Christopher Lowell, upholstered furniture coverings are being driven more by [ continued on next page ] texture and less by prints. Yesterday’s bulky, stationary pit sofa


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[ continued from page 2 ] will be replaced by lower backs and seats along with smaller “footprint� pieces clustered into conversation groups for more flexibility and ease of interaction. Stacy Garcia of Stacy Garcia Design Studio sees a movement of woods from very dark mahogany and espresso to lighter and mid-toned woods, with raw, natural walnut, cherry and white oak being especially prevalent.

spectrum, with rich jewel tones like emerald, amethyst, sapphire, ruby, garnet and citrine along with deep teal, fuchsia, honeysuckle, coffee and gold.

Light up your life

Make a statement For homeowners interested in adding life and personality to a bedroom, living room, family room or office, a decorative wall mural is a quick, costeffective way to go, explains Todd Imholte, president of Murals Your Way, whose products have been featured on the TODAY show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Divine Design, Man Caves and Moving Up. With 25 mural categories including Disney, famous artwork, cities and cityscapes, nature, and sports, as well as the ability to create murals from favorite photos, the choices are virtually unlimited. The company also recently launched a repositionable wallpaper line.

According to Bradburn design team manager Martin Lucki, lighting options will include linen shades with clean tailored lines and a play toward texture. Lamp bodies will be made of carved reclaimed woods deftly finished in soft, neutral tones that showcase the natural wood grain. Beverly Hills designer Christopher Grubb of Arch-Interiors Design Group, who considers decorative lighting “the piece of jewelry in a room,� recommends architectural sconces for applying makeup or shaving to avoid the shadows cast by overhead lighting.

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A splash of color Deborah Wecselman of DWD Inc. suggests starting with neutral hues of taupe, beige, cream, grey, black and white, and then adding unexpected pops of color with bold accessories from bright yellow paintings to royal blue vases. Dennis echoes this vibrant color

Kitchen designer/blogger Susan Serra sees a renewed interest in woven or knotted textures on rugs with “back to basics� motifs that harken back to simpler times. These rugs are easy and cheerful to live with, make a design statement, and serve as interesting foundations for rooms with upholstered or casework furnishings most often seen in neutral colors.


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Always be prepared: Hiring a contractor you can work with by Karl Weinberg

Spring and summer seem to be the time that everyone

wants to change something in their home. Here are

some simple tips to help prevent a problem during and

after the work is done. Start out with a sketch of the work you want to have

completed to show to your prospective contractors. When

looking for a contractor, ask your friends or neighbors

Labor & Industries

that have had remodel work completed. If you do not have

Better Business Bureau

someone referred to you, check with the Better Business contractor/maple-valley-wa

Bureau. Follow up at the Washington State Department

of Licensing and the Department of Labor & Industries.

A beautiful kitchen remodel starts with hiring the right contractor for the job and maintaining a strong working relationship. Starting off right can save you hours of headaches and substantial money. Photo: ThinkStock

a good fit. In other words do you feel comfortable with him or her? Ask questions about

A licensed, bonded, and insured company or individual

“change orders� as everyone who has embarked on this process knows things change

should complete all work on your home that you do not do yourself. This is for your

protection; those contractors that do not have the basics covered will probably not be

there when you need them. Interview your contractors and ask for additional references. Good companies will

have individuals from past work that will talk with you about the contractors’ work. In

addition make sure that you and your contractor are on the same page and that you have

and unforeseen issue will develop. Always ask for a timeline of when stages of work will be done and when the project will be fully completed. Some work, kitchen and bathrooms, may take time and that area will not be available during construction. This inconvenience should be as short as possible as eating out can be expensive and your friends will tire of you needing their bathroom. What work is the general contractor completing and what work will subcontractors do. You need to know this to make sure that all subcontractors meet the same requirements as the general contractor. Payment for the work and materials is another point that needs to have a clear under-

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good credit score can help shave thousands of dollars in interest off the cost of a loan. NEW HOMEBUYER’S GUIDE

So, before you even begin looking at houses, getting your credit in good order is essential. A good credit score will help you qualify for the most favorable loan terms, and make buying a home a positive long-term experience. Here are a few tips that will help put you in a good position to apply for a home loan: tAlready paying your bills on time? That’s a great start. In addition, check your credit report to make sure it accurately reflects your credit history. You can obtain one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three national credit

reporting companies (CRCs - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) by visiting www. t"TZPVQSFQBSFUPBQQMZGPSBMPBO make sure you’re following other best practices that may help you improve your credit score. For example, experts recommend keeping your debt levels at less than 30 percent of the total credit available to you.

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2012 Home Improvement & New Homebuyer’s Guide

May 25, 2012


Want to sell your home fast? Tips for helping your home stand out in a buyers’ market BY ARACONTENT


you have decided to sell your home, that last thing you want is for it to sit on the market for a long time. Taking some home improvement steps before listing can make your house more attractive to potential

National Association of Realtors Seven steps to home selling success, with other seller basics. sellers-basics/home-sellersbasics.aspx Article on selling your home in a slow market.

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May 25, 2012 For more curb appeal tips & tricks. HGTV Front Door A broad scope of info and resources for home sellers.

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Online resources for home sellers

1. Spiff up the entranceway Every interested buyer will enter through your front door. Have you looked at your entranceway with a critical eye lately? Consider replacing old or sagging screens. If your front door is dirty or scratched, clean it up or add a fresh coat of paint. Sweep away dirt and grime and set out a new entrance mat. Oil any squeaky hinges. If you have plants or shrubbery leading up to your home, make sure that they are trimmed appropriately. A manicured landscape leading up to a welcoming front door will portray the positive experience of living there. An ugly or dirty entranceway can turn away buyers before they enter your house, meaning even if your home has the most amazing interiors, their minds may already be made up. 2. Create an outdoor oasis by detailing your deck Today’s buyer isn’t just interested in the inside of a home, but the outdoor space as well. Taking your deck or patio from drab to fab may only require adding a couple of stylistic extras. Start by adding beautiful deck and fence post caps like Deckorators VersaCaps to create a polished, upscale look for your outdoor space. These one-size-fits-all caps have nested inserts that are compatible with wood, composite and vinyl posts, and come in a variety of colors. Next, add unique decorative fascia corners that stylishly adorn deck skirting and cover unsightly corner joints. These new decorative fascia corners come in two designs and install quickly with screws. 3. Add outdoor extras for safety and style Additions that are both beautiful and useful get noticed Kent Reporter | Auburn Reporter

For Sale By Owner How to sell your home yourself.

by potential buyers. Railings can add style to your deck, porch, patio or stairs, plus they add a safety element to your home. Deckorators CXT Railing is the perfect choice because you get to choose from a variety of rail and baluster combos that emulate the look of real painted wood and are ultra low-maintenance for long-term durability and strength. Another addition to consider is LED lighting that makes a home stand out at dusk and provides just the right amount of light so outdoor space can safely be enjoyed any time of day. 4. Add modern colors to interior walls Cracked paint or dated wall colors are sure to turn off buyers. For a small price, you can purchase plaster and several cans of paint to refresh dated looking rooms for a clean, modern feel. Not sure what paint colors are ontrend? Visit your local paint or hardware store for insight. Remember, it’s best to avoid anything too bold, so even if you love fire truck red, pick a shade a little more demure so you attract the most potential buyers.

5. Reduce clutter for clean, minimalist rooms If you’ve ever visited a house that’s been staged, you know that it helps buyers envision what they might do with the room. To follow this example, you’ll want to make sure that you eliminate all clutter, clean up drawers and closets, stow away extra items like pillows and blankets, and reduce the amount of personal photography you display. Remember, you want buyers to visualize themselves in your home, not see your last family portrait and feel out of place. Always keep in mind that you want to paint a picture for buyers of the wonderful life they can have if they purchase your home. If they have a good first impression and can envision their family enjoying each room in the house, they are going to want to submit a bid fast.



Fabric in the home



or many younger Americans, the dream of owning their first home is still alive and well. Here are NEW HOMEBUYER’S some tips from FindGUIDE, the nation’s leading website for free legal information, on how to get started. Save aggressively for your down payment. Many first-time homebuyers seek a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Association, which insures loans made by lenders for qualifying homebuyers. The program allows you to put down as little as 3.5 percent of a home’s cost. Get your finances in order. Lenders are taking a close look at debt-to-income ratio (percentage of monthly income that goes toward debt payments) and housingto-income ratio (percentage of monthly

income that goes toward housing payments). Clean up your credit report. Your credit score is critical to your mortgage application. The higher your score, the more likely you can qualify for a mortgage and obtain favorable terms. Don’t apply for credit. In general, it’s not a good idea to take on more debt such as an auto loan or a new credit card within a year of buying a home. Shop around for your mortgage. Compare proposals from at least three or four different lenders. First-year expenses. You should consider putting away an additional $5,000 to $10,000 for expenses such as a lawnmower, furniture and basic decorating, and for potential repairs for the furnace, water heater and other appliances.

ne of the most common comments we hear from our customers is “Boy does that make a difference!� What makes a difference? The use of fabric in covering or accenting windows. We are blessed in the Pacific Northwest with abundant natural beauty. Evergreen trees, water and mountain views, even a well-manicured yard is a sight to behold. Many of us have windows that take advantage of these views, and we cherish them. Large picture windows are like pieces of natural artwork. But what does a beautiful painting or picture require? A frame of course, and that’s where custom window treatments come in. Fabric window treatments can make the greatest impact on your living spaces. The provide comfort and create an elegance that simple sterile blinds and shades cannot. Full length draw drapery add warmth during the

cold wet winter months when drawn closed yet provide a framing of unsurpassed elegance when drawn open to take advantage of the magnificent summer light. Fabric valances and cornices are a popular option in many of today’s homes with narrower windows because they still allow for maximum amount of light on darker days while adding style to any room. Choosing the right fabric for your window treatments does not have to be a difficult task. Finding a color that coordinates with a sofa or favorite chair is a good starting point. A print or subtle pattern will add life to the fabric and need not be bold or risky when used in large treatments. Bright designs within the fabric are lots of fun but when used sparingly will not grow old. Take the time to find the right fabric and style of treatment to add life to your home today!

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2012 Home Improvement & New Homebuyer’s Guide

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May 25, 2012



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Home Improvement - Spring 2012  


Home Improvement - Spring 2012